NFL: Miami Dolphins locker room culture comes under fire as allegations of ‘bullying’ emerge

Jonathan Martin leaves the team after Richie Incognito is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team

The Miami Dolphins are facing allegations of ‘bullying’ within their locker room this week, following a lunchroom prank that led to one of its players having an ‘emotional breakdown’ and leaving the team.

The two time Super Bowl winning franchise has called for an NFL review following the sudden departure of Offensive Tackle Jonathan Martin, 24, from the team’s facilities last Monday. Martin became the victim of a lunchroom prank when his teammates stood up and moved away as soon as he sat down to eat with them. This subsequently resulted in the player smashing his tray and leaving the facility immediately. The 140kg lineman is expected to be placed on the non-injury football list in the next few days, meaning he is unlikely to return to the team this season.

It soon became obvious that the prank was not the sole reason for Martin’s outburst.  Fox Sports reported that Martin had been subject to ‘persistent teasing and bullying’ since being drafted by the South Florida team in 2012 and he had even discussed the alleged abuse with Head Coach Joe Philbin during the spring.

In recent days, further allegations have emerged whereby Martin is said to have been forced by teammates to fund $15,000 towards a trip to Las Vegas which he didn’t even attend. The Offensive tackle has since filed formal allegations of player misconduct and given the league voicemails and text messages that could aid in the investigation.

On Sunday, Offensive Lineman Richie Incognito, 30, was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team. Incognito has been placed at the centre of the allegations, which he denies strenuously, and according to sources; he was the ‘ring leader’ of the abuse on Martin, despite being a member of Miami’s six player leadership council.

Transcripts from some of the voicemails Martin handed into the league show Incognito threatening Martin with profane language and racial slurs. As reported by ESPN, one of the messages left by Incognito for Martin back in the spring, states: "Hey, wassup, you half ****** piece of ****. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] **** in your ******* mouth. [I'm going to] slap your ******* mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. **** you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

In a statement released by the Dolphins organisation, it stated: ‘We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another’.

The fallout of the bullying scandal has unearthed other related issues within the Dolphins organisation. The Miami Herald reported on one player to be going broke due to the pressures of having to pay for veteran teammates and that the younger players are being 'used like an ATM'. Pictures on twitter also emerged over the weekend showing a dinner costing $30,000, being left to the rookies (first year players) of the team to pay for. Although the rookie dinner is an annual event for every NFL team, the pictures uploaded onto the social media site have come at a bad time for Miami following the bullying accusations.

The lengthy NFL review that will examine these revelations will not only aim to expose any bullying culture within the Dolphins locker room, but it may subsequently lead to the exposure of other similar incidents elsewhere in the league.

Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely  

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project